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Citizens Urge New Attorney General Holder & President Obama to Release 17 Uighur Guantanamo Prisoners Into the US
Procession to Justice Department Today
Witness Against Torture is coordinating national call-in days for concerned people to plead with Attorney General Holder and President Obama to withdraw the Bush administration's appeal. Over 20 organizations are urging their members to contact The White House and the Justice Department. The call-in is part of the 100 Days Campaign to Close Guantanamo and End Torture, which maintains a daily vigil from 11am to 1pm in front of the White House. This week the vigil banner reads "Free the Uighurs."
Today's vigil will include a procession to the Justice Department at 11:15 am to welcome Attorney General Eric Holder and ask him to make his first official act as Attorney General the dropping of the appeal in the Uighur case.
"Every new day of imprisonment without charge is another cruel injustice for all the men held at Guantanamo, but especially for the Uighurs, who have already been exonerated and ordered released by a U.S. court of law," said Carmen Trotta of Witness Against Torture. "At our daily vigil, when we tell bystanders about the hopeless political limbo these men are in, they are outraged too. We're only asking for the change President Obama promised: restore the rule of law."
The government admits that the Uighurs were never "enemy combatants" against the U.S. – they were sold to U.S. forces by bounty hunters. In October 2008 U.S. District Court Judge Ricardo M. Urbina held that their continued detention is unlawful. In a dramatic decision, he ordered the men brought into the United States within 72 hours and delivered into his courtroom so that details of their settlement could be discussed. The Justice Department under the Bush administration immediately appealed, however, and the Uighurs have remained imprisoned under maximum security conditions.